Remarks at New START Treaty Discussion at the Brookings Institution
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance
MODERATOR: (In progress) and she’s the assistant secretary in the State Department of the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, and she has served there for a number of years. And she is here. We’re really honored to have her because she was the head negotiator for the U.S. delegation with Russia in this last negotiation. She’s got an amazingly long experience in this field, served as the head of the Carnegie’s Center in Moscow. She also served in the Department of Energy as the deputy under secretary in energy for defense, nuclear nonproliferation and also as the assistant secretary for nonproliferation and national security in the Department of Energy. She served in the National Security Council in the White House and she was holding that seat when three countries – Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus – all denuclearized, which was, I think, an amazing historic achievement, and she had her hand on the switch when that happened back in the ‘90s.
Then we’ll turn it over to her counterpart, Dr. Jim Miller, at the Defense Department. And he is the principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy, where he focuses on all these issues and a much broader portfolio. He’s also got a wealth of experience in the U.S. national security arena, was the senior vice president and director of studies at the Center for New American Security, another prestigious think tank in town; had other jobs in the private sector, and then he was deputy assistant secretary of defense for requirements, plans, and counter-proliferation at the end of the Clinton Administration. And he’s also served on the Hill as a staff member of the House Armed Services Committee.
So I’m happy to give Assistant Secretary Gottemoeller the floor here, and she’ll talk 15-20 minutes, and then we’ll have Jim speak and then we’ll open it up to your comments. Thank you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GOTTEMOELLER: Well, thank you very much for that kind introduction, Peter, and thank you for the opportunity to speak to you this afternoon. When I saw the Brookings Institution U.S. National Security Seminar, I thought, wow, this is a group of people I want to talk to about the New START Treaty. So really, thank you for the opportunity to be here this afternoon.
You know this seminar which is focused on national security offers an important and very timely opportunity to discuss what President Obama has called a national security imperative, and that is the ratification of the New START Treaty this year. There is no higher national security priority in the lame duck session of this Congress.
The New START Treaty responsibly reduces the number of nuclear weapons and launchers that the United States and Russia deploy, while fully maintaining the U.S. nuclear deterrent. Prompt ratification of the New START Treaty is strongly in U.S. security interests. This past Sunday, December 5th, marked one full year since the original START Treaty, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, went out of force. Since that time, we have had no data exchanges on Russia’s strategic nuclear forces and no opportunity to inspect Russian strategic nuclear forces.
The lack of regular data exchanges and onsite verification measures means that our understanding of Russian missile and bomber forces will diminish over time. For more than 20 years, the right of our weapons inspectors to confirm the validity of Russian-provided data by conducting short-notice, onsite inspections of nuclear weapons facilities has been at the core of verification regimes in treaties between the United States and Soviet Union and now the Russian Federation.
If we ratify this treaty, we will have a verification regime in place to track Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons, including U.S. inspectors on the ground. If we do not ratify this treaty, we will have no verification regime, no inspectors, and our insight into Russia’s strategic arsenal will be limited, and most importantly, we will have no framework for cooperation between the world’s two nuclear superpowers.
Once the New START Treaty enters into force, we will receive extensive declarations from Russia every six months regarding the number, type, and location of all the strategic offensive forces under the treaty. New START will provide an unprecedented level of information about these forces. Under the New START Treaty, a unique identifying number will be assigned to each missile and bomber, which will allow the United States to follow the item throughout the lifetime of the treaty.
Russia will provide prompt updates to that data so that the United States can understand activities in Russia’s forces and keep track of Russia’s compliance with the treaty’s central limits.
Onsite inspectors are a vital complement to the data that the United States will receive under New START. They provide the boots-on-the-ground presence to confirm the validity of Russian data declarations and to add to our confidence and knowledge regarding Russian strategic forces located at facilities around the country.
Under the New START Treaty the United States will have the right to conduct 18 onsite inspections of Russian strategic forces annually, and without the treaty there will be zero inspectors. I repeat, zero inspectors. Further delay could mean up to two years without inspectors, because people say, well, if we don’t ratify this treaty in the lame duck session, we just can come back to it in the new year and start quickly and get the treaty ratified early in the new year. Well, to my mind, that kind of approach spells delay, because, as a matter of fact, once we come back to the Senate after the holiday period, we would have to start over again with the process in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. So that kind of approach simply spells delay, and I did want to make that point clearly to you.
The provisions that we put into the New START Treaty, particularly with regard to verification and compliance, were developed with the concerns and perspectives of the U.S. Department of Defense in mind. And I’m very pleased to be joined today by Dr. Jim Miller, who will talk specifically about the interest of the DOD overall in the New START Treaty.
I want to stress that New START has the full endorsement of our nation’s military leadership, six former secretaries of state, five former secretaries of defense, and seven former commanders of the U.S. Strategic Command. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the resolution of advice and consent to ratification of the New START Treaty back in September, on September 17th, with a 14-4 vote. It was a strong bipartisan vote.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, under the leadership of Chairman John Kerry and Ranking Member Richard Lugar, undertook a thorough review of the treaty that included many hearings, many briefings, and nearly 1,000 questions answered for the record. Among the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, we had 18 hearings for this briefing between the period of May, when we brought the treaty up to the Senate, and this past September. So we had a very thorough process, and out of that process was developed the resolution of ratification that led to the successful vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 14-4 in favor of the treaty.
New START is in best interest of U.S. national security. It will reestablish the verification provisions that have ceased since the expiration of START a year ago, and it will continue the international arms control and nonproliferation framework that the United States has worked hard to foster and strengthen over the past 50 years.
Without it, our knowledge of Russian strategic forces will erode over time, increasing risks of misunderstandings, mistrust, and worst-case analysis and policymaking. As General Chilton, today’s commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, has said, "Without New START we would rapidly lose insight into Russian strategic nuclear forces and activities, and our force modernization planning and hedging strategy would be more complex and more costly. The New START Treaty is in our best national security interest, and I believe that there is every reason for the Senate to give its advice and consent to ratification this year."
With that, I am going to turn the floor over to my colleague, Jim Miller, and we’ll look forward to your questions. Thank you very much.
MR. MILLER: Thank you, Rose. I want to provide a few brief remarks, building on what Rose has said, and then we’d like to open it up for your questions and have a conversation.
As Rose said, the New START Treaty is unanimously and strongly supported by the senior leadership of DOD, including the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the rest of the Joint Chiefs – that’s all the chiefs of the services, and the commander of U.S. Strategic Command General Chilton.
The senior leaders of the military understand the treaty well, because DOD focused in detail on what we wanted from the treaty as we conducted the Nuclear Posture Review, and we provided early and ongoing inputs to Rose and her negotiating team.
DOD also had representative on the team in Geneva, and I want to note in particular the contributions of Dr. Ted Warner, former assistant secretary of defense, who served extremely ably as the Secretary of Defense’s representative to the negotiations.
DOD leadership supports the New START Treaty both for what it does and for what it doesn’t do, and I’d like to speak briefly about both. Three key things that the treaty does: First, the treaty will strengthen strategic stability with Russia and help us avoid worst-case military planning through its verification measures. Second, the treaty provides flexibility that allows the U.S. to retain and modernize a robust triad of strategic delivery systems. And third, ratifying the treaty will advance a number of broader U.S. national security interests, including nonproliferation.
I’d also like to talk a little bit about three things that the treaty does not do. First, the treaty does not constrain the U.S. ability to deploy the most effective missile defense as possible. Second, the treaty does not constrain the development of Prompt Global Strike capabilities. I’ll talk more about those in a moment. And third, the treaty does not in any way inhibit our ability to make the necessary investments in our nuclear weapons infrastructure. I’d like to say a few words about each of these elements and then go to questions.
First, the New START Treaty will improve strategic stability in the U.S.-Russia relationship. It will impose equal limits on U.S. and Russian strategic delivery systems and associated nuclear warheads. So those limits are 700 deployed strategic delivery vehicles, 800 combined deployed and nondeployed delivery vehicles, and1,550 accountable strategic warheads – equal limits for both sides. These limits are lower than the previous START Treaty and lower than the Moscow or SORT Treaty negotiated by President Bush.
As Rose indicated that the treaty will also reinstitute on-site inspections and other verification measures that we’ve been lacking since December 5th of last year. Since that time, the United States has had no boots on the ground for inspections of Russian ICBM bases, bomber bases, and other facilities. And its data collection provisions and exchange provisions will give us important insights into Russian strategic forces. Without these verification measures, we are just going to have much less information about the status of Russian strategic forces and the military will have to rely much more on worst-case planning and this will be both expensive and, as General Chilton has said, potentially destabilizing.
The second reason that the Pentagon strongly supports this treaty is that it allows us to choose our own force mix and to modernize our forces. The Department’s Nuclear Posture Review, which we’ve conducted in parallel with the New START Treaty negotiations, drove our negotiating positions on the treaty’s key limits and it allows us to maintain a strong triad under the treaty. We have 14 strategic ballistic missile submarines today and we will retain all 14 under the New START Treaty. Submarines are the most survivable of our strategic delivery systems and will carry well over half of the warheads in the New START Treaty.
We’ve got 450 Minuteman III ICBMs today and plan to retain 400 to 420 under the treaty. At the same time to promote strategic stability, we will de-MIRV, go to a single warhead for each of these missiles. And we have 94 nuclear capable or dual capable bombers today, 19 B-2s, and the rest B-52s. We intend to retain all these bombers and convert 30 or more to a conventional-only role, still leaving plenty for a robust nuclear bomber line. This robust triad will provide for strong deterrents of any attack on the United States or our allies and the Administration intends to spend more than $100 billion in the next 10 years to sustain and modernize the triad.
This force structure also provides a robust deterrent against any future Russian leader who may think of cheating or breakout. We don’t believe Russia would want to do so, but if a future Russian leader gave serious consideration to cheating or breakout, they would quickly determine that the United States has the capability to upload a large number of additional warheads on our bombers, ICBMs, and SLBMs so that Russia could gain no real or no perceived advantage.
Third, ratifying the treaty will advance a number of broader U.S. interests as well. We all recognize that the biggest nuclear threat today is not from Russia, but from the danger of nuclear proliferation and the potential for nuclear terrorism. Ratifying New START and making the associated reductions is key to meeting our obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. This will help to strengthen the coalition, to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear capability, and help us prevent proliferation in the future.
Some have also raised concerns about the dangers posed by large numbers of Russian tactical nuclear weapons. The Administration agrees and President Obama has proposed that we address these systems in follow-on negotiations in New START. It is highly unlikely that we will get to those negotiations if New START is not ratified.
Ratifying New START will also help us sustain the forward momentum in U.S.-Russian relations. We’ve already seen some big and important changes, including the Russian decision not to sell the S-300 anti-aircraft missile to Iran. Another example is Russia allowing the U.S. to move key materials and supplies for Afghanistan through Russian territory. So those are three key things the New START Treaty will do. As I said, just as important are the things that it won’t do.
First, New START will not constrain the United States from deploying the best missile defenses possible, nor impose additional costs or barriers on those defenses. We’ve made this clear in our public statements, in our budgets, and in our plans submitted to Congress. The Administration is proposing to spend almost $10 billion in missile defense this fiscal year alone. This is a $700 million increase from the previous year. We are continuing to improve both our homeland defense and our regional missile defenses. At home in December – excuse me, in September, we emplaced the 30th ground-based interceptor for the defense of the homeland. And as you know, just a few weeks ago, NATO endorsed our proposal for a territorial missile defensive Europe, the first time NATO has taken on this mission.
The Administration plans to deploy all four phases of the so-called phase adaptive approach for European missile defense. We understand that future advances in technology or changes in the threat could modify the details of these phases and that’s one reason we call it adaptive. But we – again, to reiterate – do plan to deploy all four phases and are making investments and plans accordingly. Excuse me.
The second thing the New START Treaty does not do, it does not constrain our ability to develop and deploy conventional Prompt Global Strike capabilities. The Department of Defense is currently considering what mix of long-range strike capabilities are required for the future and one of the things we’re examining is the possible deployment of the so-called conventional Prompt Global Strike capabilities that could strike any point on the earth in less than an hour. Conventional ICBMs or SLBMs would be accountable under the treaty if they had an traditional trajectory.
These systems, however, raise some challenging issues not lease of which is how to tell them from a nuclear tip missile. In any event, the Joint Chiefs and Secretary Gates and General Chilton have agreed that any such deployment would play a niche role and so be desired in small numbers if at all.
We’re also currently examining alternative concepts for future Prompt Global Strike systems that would not be limited by the treaty, such as the hypersonic glide vehicle. These systems have a number of advantages, including the ability to steer around countries to avoid over-flight. While no decisions have been finally taken, we’re continuing R&D, research and development on these systems and we plan to invest well over a billion dollars in R&D on conventional Prompt Global Strike over the next several years.
Finally, the New START Treaty does not in any way impair our ability to invest in our nuclear weapons complex and infrastructure. The Administration has developed an investment plan to sustain our stockpile over the long term. We plan to invest more than $85 billion over the next decade to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons complex that supports our deterrent. This represents a $4.1 billion increase over the next five years relevant to the plan we proposed to Congress in May. This level of funding is necessary and it’s unprecedented since the end of the Cold War.
For all of these reasons, both for what the treaty does and for what the treaty does not do, it’s supported by the Secretary of Defense, as I said, all the Joint Chiefs, and the Commander of U.S. Strategic Command. Our NATO allies also expressed strong support for New START at the Lisbon Summit a few weeks ago.
And finally, every president for the last several decades has pursued verifiable arms control agreements and the Senate has provided support. The START Treaty, negotiated by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush was approved in 1992 by 93 votes to 6. The Moscow Treaty negotiated by President George W. Bush, was approved by 95 to 0 in 2003. It’s time again and DOD and the entire Obama Administration are urging the Senate to give its advice and consent to ratification of the New START Treaty this year. Thank you and now I’ll turn it back to Pete (ph) and then take your questions.
MODERATOR: Okay, thanks very much – (applause).
MR. MILLER: Go ahead. Call on whoever.
MODERATOR: Who wants to start questions? Thank you. Could you just please identify yourselves so the audio people know?
QUESTION: Hello. My name is Vince Young (ph). I work for the U.S. Army, active duty retired and actually did 26 years with the nuclear biological and chemical warfare. And having spent time, over 10 years in Europe sitting on the border there and having been around the threat of Russia – that’s what we fought to protect for years. What’s different today with the threat? I mean, back then we thought that at any time the Russians and the Warsaw Pact countries could come across the border. And you said that it’s important to approve this now and it just doesn’t seem like there’s the threat from Russia today like they’re going to come across the borders tomorrow and start an attack.
And the second part of that question – and I think that – at least what I think some of the threat is – what I’m more concerned with is the third party, the rogue countries. Is there some part of the START agreement that looks at the accountability of sources that might somehow escape to third-party countries to make dirty bombs and things like that? That’s what I’m concerned with.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GOTTEMOELLER: Yes, that is an excellent question, and it is, actually very true and the Nuclear Posture Review spoke to this when it was completed last spring. And that is: The biggest nuclear threats we face today are the threats of nuclear terrorism, threats of countries who have unpredictable leaderships, that type of thing. That’s what we’re concerned about today, what could happen, for example, if Iran got nuclear weapons, North Korea and so forth. So there is no question that that is the focal point nowadays. But I think what is very important to consider about the New START Treaty is that it does continue this effort that has been entrain now for 40 years to reduce and limit strategic nuclear weapons.
There were still quite a few nuclear weapons, and the United States and Russia still have 90 percent of the nuclear weapons in the world. So at the end of the Cold War when START came into force in 1994, we were still deploying on each side upwards of 12,000 operationally deployed strategic nuclear weapons. So the START Treaty reduced those numbers down. Under START it was to go down to 6,000. Even lower we went after the START Treaty entered into force and the Bush Administration – President George W. Bush negotiated the Moscow Treaty which brought those numbers down to 1,700 to 2,200 operationally deployed nuclear warheads. But we’re still in need of reductions to come down even further and that has been the overall goal that we want to have a stability and predictability in the reduction process. And that’s what is so important about having a legally binding and verifiable treaty in place so that we can proceed in a predictable way to bring those numbers down. Because at the present time, that is the core of our concern; you’re quite right.
And it’s very important, I think, to point to the Lisbon Summit of a few weeks ago when we had not only the Lisbon Summit of NATO allies, but we also had a very important Lisbon meeting of the NATO-Russian Council with President Medvedev there together with the NATO leaders. And the focal point there was on cooperation and working to develop cooperation in some very significant areas such as missile defense. So that is really the focal point of our relationship with Russia now is looking for ways to develop cooperation. So you’re quite right. It’s a situation. We’re not in the Cold War years. We’re not facing the threat of nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States of America anymore, but we still have to deal with the overhang that was left by the Cold War. And to do that in a responsible way, it’s very important to have these kinds of legally binding agreements. So that’s my answer, but you’re spot-on that we really have to focus as the core threat today in the nuclear arena, it’s on the unpredictable threats, the nuclear terrorism and perhaps some countries who we can’t predict how they’re going to act.
Jim, do you want to add anything?
MR. MILLER: Yes, just very briefly. First of all, Vince, thank you for your service. And just to emphasize what Rose had to say, the U.S. and Russia making reductions under New START is part of our obligation under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. It will help us be more effective in dealing with the problems that you rightly identify as the focal point – nuclear proliferation and the possibility of nuclear terrorism. And because the U.S. and Russia still have, as Rose said, over 90 percent of the nuclear weapons in the world, we have more than we need. And strategic stability still matters and having the kind of visibility into each other’s programs that this treaty will provide and that boots on the ground, onsite inspections will provide will help us manage this transition period. As we look to change the relationship over time we want to make sure that we have a stable nuclear balance.
MODERATOR: Another question?
QUESTION: I have a question.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GOTTEMOELLER: Please.
QUESTION: I’m Tina Corby (ph) and I just wondered, in as early as May 6th six members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee requested a copy of the negotiating records for New START, and the Administration has only agreed to supply a State Department drafted summary of the negotiating history. But just given the ambiguity of the treaty’s preamble language on missile defense and the contradictory interpretations issued by the U.S. and Russia, I just wondered why won’t the Administration release the complete negotiated records, as it did with the ABM and INF treaties to the Senate?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GOTTEMOELLER: Let me say a few words in more detail about the negotiating record matter. In fact, it is not the normal practice to provide negotiating records. The complete story of the negotiations and the complete picture of the negotiations is provided in the article by article analysis that every administration does. In the case of the New START Treaty, the article by article analysis looks across all of the inputs that are provided to the negotiations, everything from instructions that come in to conversations back and forth, and it’s really the complete picture of what the delegation had to work with as it negotiated the treaty.
So I think it’s very important to recognize that it’s the article by article analysis combined with testimony that was given. I mentioned 18 hearings that we had on the New START Treaty with many, many, many, many participants in those hearings. The Secretary of State, my boss, Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Gates, Admiral Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and across the board – I myself testified four times on behalf of the treaty. So that testimony is part of the complete picture of what the treaty is all about, and finally, we answered a thousand questions for the record that also give the complete picture of what the treaty is all about.
As far as the history of this matter, let me say just a few more words about what happened with the ABM Treaty. There was a reinterpretation, an effort to reinterpret the ABM Treaty back in the 1980s. And pursuant to that, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee asked for some information from the negotiating record, and some partial information was provided. But I want to underscore that that was years after the ABM Treaty was ratified and entered into force. And at the time the INF Treaty was also reviewed by the Senate for its advice and consent, some limited information was provided. But at the time, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee put out a very important comment in their report on the INF Treaty, where they said that as a practice the idea of handing out the complete negotiating record should not be turned into a habit or a practice because it would have – and I think this is very important; as the negotiator I can say this is very important -- it would have a chilling effect on future negotiations and overall have a deleterious effect on U.S. diplomacy. And if you’ve watched what’s happened with WikiLeaks over the last couple of weeks, you will know exactly what I mean.
So I think it is very, very important to bear in mind what the overall practice has been over the years. In fact, the 110th Congress ratified 90 treaties, and in none of those cases was the negotiating record either asked for or provided.
Yes, please. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Hi. My name is Mark Hanis. I’m with a human rights organization called Save Darfur and Genocide Intervention Network. So I don't have deep knowledge on the nuclear issue, which is why I’m here. But my limited understanding is that previous treaties, especially the Moscow Treaty, has a lot of the key language that you’re discussing now with New START. So I’m curious what are – if some of the questions are process, what are the substantive, most substantive issues that Senator Kyl or anyone that’s trying to delay this or oppose the treaty – what are they, and what’s your response to those substantive arguments?
And two, you mentioned before any delay would – you’d have to start from the start. I’m just curious what would that delay look like? Is it another year? Is it two years? Can you just paint a picture what Plan B looks like?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GOTTEMOELLER: It’s a little bit hard to predict. I mentioned during my remarks that we would be looking at a delay, as I said. And I will stress once again that the treaty, if it is not ratified in the lame duck session -- by the way, with a Senate that has very much grappled with the treaty. It’s been many, many years since the Senate had to give its advice and consent to a big arms control treaty, and I want to stress that I think it’s been a very impressive effort, the due diligence that the Senate has done. It’s this Senate that has done that due diligence working very hard with us. The thousand questions I mentioned, those were serious questions. And not only did they give them to us and we had to write the answers, but then they had to read them. So it has been a case where I think the senators have really done their homework on the treaty, and that’s one of the reasons why we’re keen to work with this Senate on its ratification.
But if it is not ratified in the lame duck session then it does go back to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the process starts over again. So for that reason, I believe that we are looking at a delay of six, twelve, maybe even eighteen months. It’s very difficult to predict. As to the main arguments against the treaty, I will mention the three of them and speak again briefly to the verification area, and then I’m going to ask Jim Miller to pick up on the other two areas that have been the focal point of criticism, because they’re very much issues he’s been working and working together with the National Nuclear Security Administration, the DOE administration responsible for nuclear weapons.
The three main issues that have come up again and again and again have to do with whether or not there’s some kind of secret deal on missile defense that is hiding inside the treaty and whether there is some constraint or limitation that will accrue to U.S. missile defense programs as a result of the treaty therefore. The second major criticism has to do with the verification regime. It is not the verification regime of the START Treaty which was negotiated during the Cold War years. In fact, I worked on the START delegation in Geneva in 1990 and 1991, so I’m quite familiar with the process between which the START Treaty was negotiated. So verification regime is different in this treaty. I’ll come back to that in a moment. And the third big issue does not really have to do with the treaty itself, but it has to do with the modernization of the U.S. weapons infrastructure and the future funding for the stockpile stewardship program.
So giving Jim fair warning, I’m going to ask him to comment in a moment on both modernization and the missile defense issue. But I did want to say a few words about verification, because this treaty has a verification regime that is uniquely suited to the central limitations of this treaty. Many of the verification measures in the START Treaty were associated with its particular structure and the particular requirements for monitoring that were generated in the treaty itself. We learned a huge amount over the 15 years of implementing the START Treaty. The START Treaty went into force in 1994 and went out of force a year ago in December. Over those 15 years we had inspectors on the ground conducting inspections across the former Soviet Union because not only were Russia and the United States signatories of the START Treaty, but also Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus. It was in fact the mechanism that we used to denuclearize those three countries that, once the Soviet Union fell apart, ended up with thousands of nuclear warheads on their territory. So we used the START Treaty as the mechanism to remove those weapons from those countries and bring them back to Russia for dismantlement or for other deployment.
So it is a very, I think, interesting and intense experience that we had in implementing the START Treaty, and we learned an enormous amount. I had weapons inspectors serving on my delegation, people who had worked on the inspections in the START Treaty for all those years, and they knew a very great deal about not only how to conduct onsite inspections, but they really thought through about how to do it better. And so we incorporated some of those experiences and some of those ideas about how to do things better into the New START Treaty. And I think that that is very, very important, that learning that went on not only on the U.S. side, but there were also inspectors on the Russian delegation as well. They too brought their experience to the table, and I think for that reason we’ve ended up with a verification regime in the New START Treaty. First of all, it’s uniquely suited to the central limitations of this treaty, but furthermore it has incorporated some improvements which will help us, I think, to improve the onsite inspection profile in the New START treaty.
MR. MILLER: Thanks, Rose. Let me say a few words about both missile defense and funding for the nuclear complex. Four issues on missile defense. The first is that some have claimed that there’s a possible secret deal, as Rose indicated, on missile defense. This is nonsense. There is no secret deal. Or if I put it differently, if it’s secret it’s secret from the President, the Vice President, the White House staff, National Security staff, Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, all the people that I work with in the Defense Department, Secretary of State, Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary, Assistant Secretary, and everybody else there. In other words, if it’s secret, it’s secret from the U.S. Government. So I think it’s – I’ve talked to all of the players involved, and frankly, it’s a little difficult to understand what the basis of this claim is.
I think the closest we have is that we – as Rose indicated earlier – we have had discussions with Russia about the possibility of for ballistic missile defense cooperation in which we would look, for example, to see if a couple of their radars could contribute to the picture for missile defenses to help improve our European missile defense capabilities. We, frankly, haven’t gotten very far in those discussions, but we’ve proposed an umbrella agreement that would allow us to have those conversations. And my best estimate is that some have taken the discussion of this umbrella agreement to allow the exchange of information as a potential agreement that would limit missile defenses. That is not the case, and in fact the agreement that we were discussing is a subset of a defense technical cooperation agreement text that the Bush Administration had proposed to Russia. So set aside that issue.
Within the treaty, the missile defenses are noted in two places. One is in the preamble, which simply states that there is a relationship between offense and defense. And I think that anyone who understands these issues at all would recognize that. But you also have to recognize that we have under the treaty 1550 weapons allowed by each side. We currently have 30 ground based interceptors. Our phase adaptive approach in Europe is not going to have the capacity to go after Russian ballistic missiles. So while there’s a relationship, there is no possibility that during the terms of this treaty or sometime thereafter that there be any instability caused by our plans on missile defense, which as we’ve said, we intend to continue to improve both qualitatively and quantitatively.
A second element in the treaty is that it prohibits the future conversion of ICBM or SLBM launchers to ballistic missile defense launchers or vise versa. And we had converted four former ICMB silos at Vandenburg Air Force Base to BMD interceptor silos. What we discovered after having done so is that it is a lot more expensive to convert an old silo than it is to build a new one. We now have experience building new silos at Fort Greely, Alaska. And prior to agreeing to this in the negotiation, we ran the numbers and discovered that if we want to deploy additional BMD interceptors it’s far cheaper to do so by building the new silos. And in fact, we – Secretary Gates has approved completing Missile Fuel Two at Fort Greely, which will give us the ability to deploy an additional eight interceptors if we wish to do so.
And the final issue that’s arisen on missile defense is the unilateral statement associated with the treaty, not in the treaty but associated with the treaty, made by Russia, stipulating that in effect if U.S. missile defense capabilities grew so large as to begin to create instability or to deny the ability of the Russian deterrent, then Russia would consider withdrawing from the treaty. This is a provision that was also present in the previous START Treaty. In fact, at that time, Russia linked it to the ABM Treaty. And in fact, when the U.S. withdrew from the ABM Treaty, Russia did not withdraw from the START Treaty. We made a unilateral statement as well that said the United States intends to continue to improve our missile defenses, and we have good reasons for doing so given the threats posed by other countries, including North Korea and Iran.
On the question of NNSA, of the funding for the nuclear weapons complex, Senator Kyl came to the Administration a ew months ago and said that the plan we had provided for NNSA, for the nuclear weapons complex, was insufficient. I was, frankly, a little surprised when he made that statement initially, because we had just increased the spending for the nuclear weapons complex dramatically by $600 million in the previous fiscal year, and we had plans to continue that increase over the coming years.
As it turned out, Senator Kyl was right. We looked into it. There were areas where plans had changed and new estimates had arisen, and additional funding was required. And the Administration did a very thorough look and decided to add $600 million for Fiscal Year ’12 and $4.1 billion overall for the next five years. And the fact is that over the course of the six or so months since we made the last estimate, things had changed, and we made that adjustment and we were perfectly glad to do it. And this Administration is committed to continuing to fully fund the nuclear weapons complex.
Those are really the key issues that have been brought up.
QUESTION: Hi, I’m David Hathaway. I’m the U.S. Air Force Federal Executive Fellow here at Brookings. You both artfully laid out the reasons why it would be good for the U.S. to ratify this treat. There – from the other side of it, there must be something in it for the Russians to want this as well. Could you lay out some of the reasons the Russians would want this and why it’s a good thing for them?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GOTTEMOELLER: Well, it’s important to recognize and to underscore that this is a bilateral reduction negotiation, and so that all of the obligations that are placed on the Russians by the treaty are also placed on us. So for them, it also provides predictability about what we’re doing with our strategic forces. It provides visibility into what we are planning with our triad in the years the treaty will be enforced.
By the way, the treaty will be enforced for 10 years from the time it enters into force, so it provides, really, for both parties, core predictability and stability. And I think we’ve had a huge amount of experience now, starting with the Strategic Arms Limitation Agreements in the early ‘70s, with developing a kind of increasing amount of predictability about what we each have entrained with our strategic forces. And as Secretary Gates has emphasized and also General Chilton, CINC, of STRATCOM, this kind of predictability really helps with force planning over time so that you don’t end up in the box of having to do worst-case planning all the time and maybe drive up your budget costs in a way you would not otherwise want to do so.
So I think for the Russians as well as for the United States, the core interest is in the predictability that the treaty provides.
MR. MILLER: I agree a hundred percent with what Rose has said, and would just add that like us, the Russians have a strong interest in nonproliferation and in preventing nuclear terrorism. And like us, they will benefit and help strengthen that regime by making reductions in what, on both sides, is more nuclear weapons than necessary.
MODERATOR: There was a question back here.
QUESTION: Elaine Grossman with the National Journal Group. How are you?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GOTTEMOELLER: Hi, Elaine.
QUESTION: A question about the plan for the nuclear complex modernization. Senator Kyl has said that NNSA, DOE officials have, in the course of the negotiations leading up to this discussion now, proposed that modernization funds be requested in a multiyear appropriation and be appropriated for multiyear. Is that something that the Obama Administration is embracing at this point? And if not, why does it appear that NNSA officials had proposed that to Senator Kyl? Thanks.
MR. MILLER: Thanks, Elaine. The question is whether it’s possible to give some advance funding for future requirements, and particularly for a couple of the larger facilities that are being built, one that will ensure our ability in the future to continue to work with uranium, and the other that will ensure our ability in the future to continue to work with plutonium.
And as you look at the – at each of those facilities, it’s important to understand that we’re currently at about the 45 percent design level. In other words, they’re – we have a lot of the work to do to – still ahead of us, or the Department of Energy does, that will define what these facilities will really look like. About 45 percent done – it’ll be a couple of years, two and a half years or so, before they’re at the 90 percent level of design maturity. And at the 90 percent level design maturity, NNSA will be able to make a much more accurate cost estimate of what the facilities will cost. Currently, they provide a pretty significant range for those costs. And at that point, also I think it would be appropriate to consider the possibility of advanced funding.
It raises other issues for DOE and – but it doesn’t make sense to do advanced funding when there’s such a – today when there’s such a wide range of possible costs and when the designs aren’t locked down, something that I think we should really look at in the – and look at as something that is a possible option in two to three years. As I said, it will raise other issues, and the Office of Management and Budget will have a view, and – but it’s certainly worth – it’s worth considering, but it’s – just where we are right now, this is certainly not the right time.
MODERATOR: Another question?
QUESTION: Yeah, my name is Andre Sirlonsky (ph). I’m with ITAR-TASS news agency of Russia and my question is for Secretary Gottemoeller. It’s a rather technical one. To your estimate, how many working days you have to complete this certification process, and during this lame duck session – I mean when this session ends? And do you think it’s – it is still plausible to complete this – to get this done during this timeframe? And what is your planning for (inaudible) over 2011? Thank you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GOTTEMOELLER: The answer to your question is yes. We know, for example, that there is a continuing resolution that is timed to go through December 17th. And at about that time, there will have to be some additional votes. So we know that the Congress needs to stay in for the reasons of what will happen with the continuing resolution that keeps the government running. It’s the budget for the government. So we know that the Congress will be at least here until the 17th of December, and it’s possible that they could stay for more time after that. So I do think that there is time to get the New START Treaty finished in that period.
I will just say that historically, we have a pretty good feel for how long it takes to do these big treaties. The START Treaty took five days on the floor, for example. The START II Treaty took two days on the floor. The Moscow Treaty took two days on floor time. So I think, frankly, that there is adequate time available.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GOTTEMOELLER: Well, I mentioned, then we will be starting again, and it will go back to the Committee on Foreign Relations for consideration, and we will be working intensively as before. I do think, as I said, we have an enormous, enormous now stock of both the testimony, the 18 hearings as I mentioned, and testimony by multiple witnesses on each occasion.
So we have a very, very good storehouse of testimony from our top leaders and experts on the treaty. And the 1,000 questions for the record aren’t going to go away. I suppose we might get another – asked another thousand questions for the record. But I can’t imagine a topic at this moment that we haven’t touched on so far. So I do think that we have, as I mentioned, done our homework with regard to the New START Treaty and that it is in a good situation to ratify it in this lame duck session.
QUESTION: Yeah, hi. Todd Jacobson with Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor. You talked about the modernization issue within NNSA. In the current drafts of the continuing resolution, there’s language that would link modernization funding for NNSA to ratification of the treaty. Are you in favor of that language and do you think it’ll have – or do you think it’ll apply effective leverage to convince Republicans to vote for the treaty?
MR. MILLER: The Administration’s strong view is that the treaty makes sense on its own merits, and the Administration’s strong view is that additional funding for NNSA makes sense on its own merits. So no, we don’t support that linkage.
QUESTION: So I realize you’ve just spent the last two years focused on New START, and assuming that it gets ratified in this session, I want to know, what are the next steps for arms control?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GOTTEMOELLER: Excellent question. There’s no one more eager than I to – (laughter) – head off in some new directions. The President’s made very clear what goals he has, even when – the day he signed the treaty in Prague on April 8th with President Medvedev, he spoke about proceeding on in our next negotiation to tackling non-deployed nuclear weapons and also non-strategic – or some people call them tactical – nuclear weapons. And this has been an issue of great interest and concern to the Senate. They have wanted – excuse me – to see us move on to those negotiations, tackling tactical nuclear weapons.
So – excuse me – we will be, I hope, proceeding in that direction. There are some large multilateral efforts afoot as well. We have been very, very keen to proceed with the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty negotiation in the Conference on Disarmament, and very perturbed at the work plan that was agreed on a consensus basis in May a year ago at the Conference on Disarmament. That was back in 2009. There is a single country standing in the way of us moving forward. So we are looking for ways to advance, nevertheless, a Fissile Material Cutoff negotiation, and we’ll be doing everything we can on a multilateral basis to move that forward, whether in the CD or via some other mechanisms.
The other goals – and these are not in the nuclear arena at all – but we have been very, very keen to proceed with conventional forces in Europe, reductions and controls. Back in 2007, we had a situation where Russia ceased implementation of the CFE Treaty, and we want to move as rapidly as possible now to restore attention to the CFE Treaty. And we have already some discussions entrained in that regard. So it’s also on the conventional side of the House that we want to be working, and working very vigorously in the next year.
So those are a few of the other areas that we are – that we will be looking at for 2011.
MR. MILLER: Audrey, if I could just add briefly two things. First, with respect to the – any future bilateral arms control discussions, it will take some time for this Administration to work through the set of issues that need to be worked through to go – to address tactical and non-deployed weapons.
As Rose discussed, and in parallel, we’ll be doing a hard look at potential revisions to guidance associated with nuclear weapons. We expect that will take a little bit of time, to say the least, to work through those issues. And we will be consulting with Congress and we’ll be consulting with our allies also, because particularly as you begin to talk about the nonstrategic or tactical nuclear weapons, the interests of the allies are very much in play. We consulted during the New START negotiations as well, but it’s obvious that it will be a critical element here.
The second thing I would say, as we think about those potential bilateral negotiations, is that there is room on both sides for further reductions. We declassified a few months ago the number of nuclear weapons in our stockpile. As of the end of the previous fiscal year, it was 5,113, and we said unclassified that we had an additional several thousand weapons awaiting dismantlement. So you can do the math on our side.
On the Russian side as well, we believe that there’s room for reductions, and in particular, on consolidation of their tactical nuclear weapons. And we think this is something that would be very valuable.
QUESTION: Could I get a mike to come to (inaudible)?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GOTTEMOELLER: We’ll give you the last question, Peter.
QUESTION: Okay. I’m Pete Chutley from Brookings, and I wanted to ask you, Assistant Secretary Gottemoeller, a little bit about the negotiations. And specifically, when you start those, you sort of have a vague idea or more than a vague idea of what some of the key issues, challenges are going to be because the two countries have opposing views.
So my question to you is: What might have been surprising in these negotiations, where we didn’t expect this issue to become a big deal, contentious? And then it was tough to work out and maybe it was one of the last ones to be agreed and resolved. Can you give us one or two issues that sort of fit into that that were a bit surprising, that turned out to be difficult but that were agreed at the end?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GOTTEMOELLER: Well, let me just talk a little bit about the negotiations overall, because you’re quite right, Pete. There’s – and I mentioned it during my remarks – it’s been a long time since we’ve really negotiated such a big deal with the Russians, such a big nuclear arms reduction treaty. The last major negotiation of any length was the START Treaty negotiations, which took place at the end of the 1980s over into the 1990s, and were finally signed by President George H.W. Bush and President Gorbachev in July of 1991. So it was quite a long negotiation, but it was a long time ago also.
So we – first of all, I call it the concept formulation phase. We had a phase that went from the late spring until the presidents met in July in Moscow. President Medvedev, President Obama met in Moscow and signed a joint understanding which provided a basic framework for the further negotiations. But those first couple months – April, May, June – we were working in Moscow and Geneva, we had a meeting in Rome as well, basically on the overall concepts. And you can see the way they fell out if you look at the joint understanding from the July summit of 2009. So we had those basic concepts to go on, and then we had to proceed to actually put treaty text down, and that’s what we did through the end of the summer and worked through into the fall.
I think based on the way that we put together the treaty text, there were no major surprises. We knew what the issues were. Nothing kind of jumped out. But there were a lot of details that had to be worked through because we had, again, the experience of the START Treaty, which was an enormous document. The START Treaty and its accompanying technical protocols and annexes is about 700 pages long.
So we had a good basis to work on, but as I said, we had a new treaty that was really focusing on three particular central limits – the central limit on deployed warheads, delivery vehicles, and then deployed and non-deployed launchers. So we were working through some particular concepts that would apply to how we would be achieving the reductions in this new treaty, and what particular verification measures had to go along with those central limitations and the obligations in the new treaty.
So I can’t say it was all smooth sailing. There was a lot of head-butting that went on in Geneva. And we had some very high-level help from time to time. Admiral Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with his counterpart, General Makarov, they played a very important role in the negotiations. President Obama himself and President Medvedev were very active in the negotiations. And my immediate boss, Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher, came out in the endgame of the negotiations to help push the rock uphill. So we had some considerable head-butting, but in terms of unpredictable things arising, I can’t say I can think of any examples.
So, anyway, well, thank you all very much for this opportunity to talk to you today. It’s been a great opportunity for me and I’m sure Jim would say the same.
MR. MILLER: In fact, I will say the same, and I’ll say that one thing that – for me that was totally expected but not typical was the type of open communication and incredibly effective team play by the lead negotiator, Assistant Secretary Gottemoeller. And it allowed the Department of Defense to express its views to have the – to ensure that the treaty was, in all ways, something that our senior leadership was aware of in advance and that had worked through all the issues.
And I think if you read the history of the – of arms control negotiations on a number of occasions in the past, that was not always the case. And it’s something that allowed this treaty to be accomplished quickly and to be so clearly in the U.S. national security interest, so great credit to you, Rose.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GOTTEMOELLER: Thank you. (Applause.)